Big Batch Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

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Have you thought about making your own homemade powdered laundry soap, but didn’t quite know how to begin? Then this is the recipe for you! There’s no measuring needed and if you can open up some boxes, grate some soap, and stir it together, then you can do it!

Plus, it makes a big batch and it’s cheap too.

Want to give it a try? I know you do!

homemade powdered laundry soap

Here’s how to do it . . . .

Homemade Big Batch Powdered Laundry Soap

laundry soap ing

You Will Need:
1 Box 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz)
1 Box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz)
1 Bar Fels Neptha Soap – grated
1 Bar Ivory Soap – grated

1. Grate the bar of Fels Naptha Soap and the bar of Ivory soap. ( I usually use my small hand grater from the dollar store). I’ve found it’s helpful to unwrap the bars of soap a day or two ahead of time and let them dry out a little. This gives you smaller drier pieces when you grate the soap. You can also run your grated soap through a food processor to make them a little bit finer too. Set the grated soap aside for now.

2. Dump the entire box of borax into your container. Sometimes borax is a little lumpy so dumping it in first gives you a chance to smash the lumps out.

3. Next, dump in the entire box of washing soda.

4. Finally dump in your grated soap

5. Stir it all together and there you have it! A nice big batch of homemade powdered laundry soap ready and waiting.

homemade laundry soap

Use 2 tablespoons per load. A little scooper in your container will save the day. Go forth and save money on laundry!

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37 Comments

  1. From what I am reading Borax is not safe for cold water washing. It leaves residue on the clothes which touch your skin. What can be used instead of Borax?

    1. If you want to leave the Borax out, I would just try adding a bit more washing soda to the recipe. I have not personally tried this but that would be the first way I would try to adapt the recipe without Borax. You could also try adding one of the laundry boosters like Purex Crystals instead of the Borax to a powdered homemade detergent.

  2. this all sounds really great, I’d love to try… but I have a whole load of knits that are black nylon/12%spandex and polyester/nylon/12%spandex. They are yoga type knits, which I wear for my work.
    Will they fade? or have other ill effects on the spandex?

    Thanks for all your collective wisdom!

    1. Angie – sometimes borax can fade very bright clothing, but I have not really noticed fading on my darks. But to be safe you might want to use a little less borax in the recipe. You might also find that this powdered mixture doesn’t dissolve as well in the cold water wash you are using. You might like to try the homemade liquid laundry soap made with Dawn for your purposes. Here’s a link to that recipe: https://www.themakeyourownzone.com/2013/10/homemade-laundry-soap-made-dawn.html

    1. The Arm & Hammer washing soda is a 55 oz box and the 20 Mule Team Borax is a 76 oz box. I’m not sure if washing soda and borax are sold in any other size boxes in the stores, but just in case I have updated the recipe ingredients above to add that size info.

  3. Love this! although the one problem is after I put it in the dryer even with two fabric softener sheets still has static cling. Can you email me your answer? It would be easier to find a response thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I used the fels naphtha soap and did care for the smell at all. This time I used ivory (3) bars and a whole bottle of essential oil fragrance. It smells very nice. The one problem I am having with the homemade soap over store bought is that I may not be able to get right to the washer when the clothes are finished washing. It seems if left more than a couple of hours the clothes smell sour. With the store bought brand I can leave them for two days and they still smell great. What is the difference?

    1. You have me stumped on that one. Perhaps it’s a soap vs. detergent thing? Or maybe the essential oil is having some effect? (although then you think you would just smell the essential oils) I have not had this happen and I don’t always get to my washer immediately either. I’ll have to do some research on this question.

    1. Hi Tracy – This big batch recipe will work in HE machines because it doesn’t suds. Even though I don’t have an HE machine, my understanding is that HE machines need low sudsing soaps, and the homemade soaps don’t suds up, and therefore almost any homemade soap should be OK.

  5. I have made a similar soap but have added oxyclean to it and used Zotes soap as our walmart did not have the Fels Naptha soap. Although the Zotes added a nice pink color (I keep mine in a big glass container on my dryer so I like the pink color) I think I will try and get Fels Naptha on amazon next time.

  6. I made this recipe using 3 bars of ivory soap. i had someone comment that this will not work because it is too alkaline and there is not enough soap in the mixture. on the other hand i've had someone tell me that the washing soda and borax are soap. do you know anything regarding these comments I've received? Also, how has the soap worked for your clothes and your washing machine?

  7. I love this ! and I adore anyone who is into making their own products as I do. I subscribed and am following. I will try this mixture for detergent myself and keep it in a pretty jar. This amount should last me forever since I only do about one load a week. blessings! Lady

  8. I've been using this recipe (with 2 bars of soap) for nearly a year in my HE machine, with great success. I wash most of my laundry in cold water, unless it's really grimy & then I use warm. You don't have to use Fels Naptha (although I love the smell!), you can use any bar soap — but make sure it says “soap” on the label and not something like “moisturizing bar”.

  9. tbsgram – I think this soap works the same in cold water, although I do not use a cold water wash very often. I tend to always use a warm water wash, with a cold water rinse.

    For the hard/soft water issue, I asked my hubby who used to sell water softeners. He said the rule of thumb is that any soap will work a little better in softer water. The harder water is, the more minerals that are in it. Soaps work a little better with soft water because the soap does not have to interact with as many minerals. This would apply whether you are using store bought laundry soaps, or using the homemade.

  10. I like to microwave my bar of Ivory–there are tons of videos you can see online of this. It is very quick and worth the fun of that part alone. My recipe calls for equal parts of powdered Ivory, borax, and washing soda. It takes me usually all of about 10 minutes to make. (I like to put about 1/2 cup in the blender to make it super fine for when I am traveling to use for sink washing in icy water.) In my washing machine, I use about 2 tablespoons of the main mixture for a full load. It took about 2 months of washing for my clothes to stop having the “stiffer” commercial detergent feel to them. I used to always use fabric softener, but now I don't need to at all. After seeing and feeling how much softer my clothes are, I am not inclined to purchase pre-prepared laundry detergent ever again. As a bonus, I can wear my own perfume and not smell like perfume+cheer or perfume+tide or …

  11. Pretreating using detergent, That might be safer than using the Oxiclean so far ahead of time (sometimes I prespray a week or two before it gets washed). I have to treat right when it happens its dark in my basement laundry room.

  12. Zombiemommy – I keep a bottle of store bought liquid laundry soap around for pre-treating food stains. I pour some into a little squirt bottle and then just squirt some on a stain and rub it in. That helps a lot. Even if you used the homemade stuff just on less soiled loads, like sheets or towels, you could still save money.

    Finding Charm – The homemade laundry soaps do not suds so they should work well in HE machines. What makes the store bought HE detergents different from regular detergents is that they are low sudsing. I do not have an HE machine so I can't speak from personal experience, but I have read comments from several others that the “no suds” aspect of the homemade stuff makes is OK for HE.

  13. Thanks for the encouraging words! A book is one of my goals, maybe starting with an e-book for the blog. I better buckle down and get busy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I use the same recipe, but add baking soda to eliminate odors. Glad to know I'm o the right track. Love the pics. that make it so easy to follow.